Rep. George W. Gekas plans to introduce consumer bankruptcy reform legislation Wednesday.

The Pennsylvania Republican's bill will closely resemble the compromise that passed the House by a 300-to-125 vote in October but later stalled in the Senate. Hearings are expected in mid-March, and a Judiciary Committee vote could occur by the end of that month, a spokeswoman for Rep. Gekas said Monday.

Under the bipartisan proposal, court-appointed trustees would have 10 days to decide based on the consumer's income and living expenses whether the debtor should eliminate unsecured credit in Chapter 7 or repay some in Chapter 13.

Creditors also could force a consumer into Chapter 13 if the debtor earns more than the median income. The judge in most cases has to grant the creditor's request if the debtor could afford over five years to repay either 25% of unsecured debt or $5,000.

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